In their own words, “the NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training, Third Edition, provides guidelines for the complex process of designing safe, effective, and goal-specific resistance, aerobic, plyometric, and speed training programs for clients of all ages and fitness levels”.
This book acts as a study guide for those wanting to successfully complete the NSCA-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) exam, so it is extremely thorough, in-depth, and informative, with contributions from some highly regarded and credible educators.
Of course, if you are already qualified/certified as a Personal Trainer with a different organisation, this book is well worth having on your shelf as an educational resource because of the amount of content it contains.
I qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2006, but I have this book on my shelf and use it regularly. Personal training is such a wide and diverse field that it is impossible to know everything, and it always pays to either add a new string to your bow or to expand upon any area that you are already confident about. After almost 17 years I am still refining my methods, expanding my knowledge, and improving my ability to be a Personal Trainer.
There are 4 main areas of content in this book (Client consultation and assessment, Program planning, Techniques of exercise, and Safety, emergency procedures, and legal issues) which are covered in 25 individual chapters – each written by some of the best educators in the industry (a full list of the chapter titles can be seen at the bottom of this blog). To say that the range and depth of the content are thorough would be an understatement.
A book review that only focuses on the strengths of a book would not be very credible, so here is a very short list of weaknesses…and to be honest, it is quite a short list.
As great as it is to see some ‘business’ content in this book, the ‘Business of Personal Training’ section is only 10 pages and doesn’t really go into much detail on any important or relevant business topics. However, the fact that it appears in the Appendix as opposed to being a full chapter tells me that this is almost bonus material on top of all the theory and practical content. No bonus is a bad bonus, but I would suggest that in the future it would be a good idea to add a 5th area of content (business) which could have a handful of chapters providing some business content with the same depth as every other chapter.
I would also like to see the topic of ‘communication’ covered in more detail seeing as every single interaction with every single client can be utilised to ensure adherence to your programming, attendance to your sessions, and referrals to your services.
Other than those two omissions (which I expect to be added to future editions – hint hint) this is a fantastic book, which is a must-have for any Personal Trainer whether you have been doing the job for 2 minutes, 2 years, or 20 years.
- Structure and Function of the Muscular, Nervous, and Skeletal Systems
Jared W. Coburn, PhD, and Moh H. Malek, PhD
- Structure and Function of the Cardiorespiratory System
Michael R. Esco, PhD, and Moh H. Malek, PhD
Carmine Grieco, PhD, and N. Travis Triplett, PhD
Douglas W. Powell, PhD, and Megan A. Bryanton Jones, PhD
- Responses and Adaptations to Resistance Training
Michael D. Roberts, PhD, and Kevin W. McCurdy, PhD
- Responses and Adaptations to Aerobic Endurance Training
Don Melrose, PhD, and David J. Heikkinen, PhD
- Nutrition Concepts and Strategies
Eric R. Helms, PhD, and Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD
- Exercise Psychology, Goal Setting, and Motivation
E. Whitney G. Moore, PhD, and Brian T. Gearity, PhD
- Client Consultation and Health Appraisal
Robert Linkul, MS, and Chat Williams, MS
- Fitness Evaluation, Selection, and Administration
Robert Lockie, PhD, and Laura Kobar, MS, MC
- Fitness Evaluation Protocols and Norms
David H. Fukuda, PhD, and Kristina L. Kendall, PhD
- Flexibility and Warm-up Concepts and Bodyweight and Stability Ball Exercise Technique
Nick Tumminello, Jonathan Mike, PhD, and Jay Dawes, PhD
- Resistance Exercise Technique
Ronald L. Snarr, PhD, and Alexis Batrakoulis, MS
- Cardiovascular Exercise Technique
Benjamin H. Reuter, PhD, and Margaret T. Jones, PhD
- Resistance Training Program Design
Brad J. Schoenfeld, PhD, and Ronald L. Snarr, PhD
- Aerobic Training Program Design
Mike Martino, PhD, and Nicole C. Dabbs, PhD
- Plyometric and Speed Training Program Design and Technique
Jason C. Casey, PhD, and Chris A. Bailey, PhD
- Clients who Are Preadolescent, Older, or Pregnant
Wayne L. Westcott, PhD, and Avery D. Faigenbaum, EdD
- Clients with Nutritional or Metabolic Concerns
Abbie Smith-Ryan, PhD, and Cassandra Forsythe, PhD, RD
- Clients with Cardiovascular or Respiratory Conditions
Cindy M. Kugler, MS, Steven M. Laslovich, PhD, and Paul Sorace, MS
- Clients with Orthopaedic, Injury, or Rehabilitation Concerns
Morey J. Kolber, PhD, PT, Dean Robert Somerset, BSc, and Michael G. Miller, PhD, ATC
- Clients with Spinal Cord Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, or Cerebral Palsy
Gavin Colquitt, EdD, and Kelli M. Clark, DPT
- Resistance Training for Clients who are Athletes
Joseph J. Bonyai, MEd, and Tyler D. Williams, PhD
- Facility and Equipment Layout and Maintenance
Jamie L. Aslin, MS, and Chat Williams, MS
- Professional, Legal, and Ethical Responsibilities of Personal Trainers
Anthony A. Abbott, EdD, and Georgia H. Goslee, JD
Appendix The Business of Personal Training
Mark A. Nutting, BS and Robert Linkul, MS
This post was written by Mark Laws at Future Fit Training.
NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training
Editors: Brad J. Schoenfeld and Ronald L. Snarr
Header photo by Bruno Bueno